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Mercantilism 16 th – 18 th C Economics as applied statecraft Promotion of National wealth and power Wealth as gold or treasure Importance of trade surpluses.

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Presentation on theme: "Mercantilism 16 th – 18 th C Economics as applied statecraft Promotion of National wealth and power Wealth as gold or treasure Importance of trade surpluses."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mercantilism 16 th – 18 th C Economics as applied statecraft Promotion of National wealth and power Wealth as gold or treasure Importance of trade surpluses Trade surplus leads to a net gold inflow, and thereby to greater national wealth and power Analogy between nations and households Encourage domestic production and exports, discourage imports Trade as a zero sum game

2 Some Mercantilist ProgramsVon Hornick Von Hornick: Austria Over All, If Only She Will (1684) - Full use of all land and natural resources for domestic industry - Large working population - Finish raw materials at home, as finished goods have a higher value - Discouragement of imports, and no imports where domestic supply is available - Imports be confined to raw materials to be finished at home

3 Von Hornick - Prohibition of all bullion exports (bullionist position) - Necessary imports be obtained in exchange for domestic goods, not gold or silver - Sell surplus manufactures to foreigners, if possible for gold and silver Hornick very influential in Austria

4 Mercantilist Programs Thomas Mun Thomas Mun: Englands Treasure by Foreign Trade (1664) - Importance of trade and the social position of the merchant -Bring all unused land into production - Fully utilize natural resources including fisheries - Reduce consumption of imports, particularly luxuries - Export goods with inelastic demandcan charge higher prices

5 Thomas Mun - Customs duties on imports to be consumed domestically -Export in own ships -Encourage distant trade - make England a trans- shipment point - Export of bullion permitted, if for purposes of trade (non- bullionist position) - Make the most we can of our own

6 Mercantilist Policies France - Colbert ( ), economic advisor to Louis XIV - Encouragement of French manufacturing industry, particularly luxury goods - Subsidies to industry and provision of infrastructure - Detailed control of production methods and standards - Encouragement of population and restrictions on emigration - Colonies

7 Mercantilist Policies England - Navigation acts ( ) - Protective tariffs and import prohibitions - Restrictions on the export of raw materials - Reservation of the Colonial market - Monopoly trading companies

8 Mercantilism and Monetary Theory Early realization of a link between gold inflows and increased price levels (Jean Bodin) Anticipation of what would now be called the quantity theory of money: MV=PT Link between M and P well understood Sometimes suggested that increases in M could quicken trade Keynesian interpretation of mercantilism

9 Mercantilist Monetary Theory Balance of trade surplus leads to a gold inflow that increases money supply and domestic prices Lockeprocess is reinforcing HumeSpecie-flow mechanism: balance of trade surplus leas to a specie inflow and increase of domestic prices. This will lead to lower exports and higher imports until a balance of trade equilibrium is reached (assumes full employment) Mercantilist policy is self defeating

10 Critics of Mercantilism David Hume: specie-flow mechanism and emphasis on trade restrictions as restricting innovation Physiocrats - importance of agriculture - Laissez-faire policy Adam Smith - Artificial stimulation of manufacturing and trade (misallocation of resources) - International specialization and mutual gains from trade

11 Main Points of Mercantilism Economics as statecraft not analysis Tendency to see gold and treasure as constituting national wealth Emphasis on balance of trade surpluses Emphasis on maximizing productivity and output Bullionist and non-bullionist positions Trade as a zero sum game Role of government in encouraging domestic manufacturing and exports while minimizing imports Link between money supply and prices


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